Friday, January 12, 2007

The Cosmic Trigger is Pulled and Robert Anton Wilson Departs

above: Robert Anton Wilson recently.

Robert Anton Wilson, January 18, 1932 - January 11, 2007

Last night, as it said on the mans blog, Robert Anton Wilson Defied Medical Experts, who expected him to live for another two months, and left his body @4:50 AM on binary date 01/11.

Wilson was a driving force of energy and optimism, that even up to the transition of that energy to other form(s), never failed or weakened. Right up to the end he remained a force of love, humour, energy and perhaps most of all, intelligence.

Wilson was also, among other things a Mystic, Magician,
Guerilla Ontologist, Activist, Libertarian, Drug Taker, Scientist, Joycean Scholar, Fortean, musician, stand up comedian and also, as described by himself and others, a philosopher. Over a forty year career Bob waged war against dogma, idiocy, fear and ignorance.

He was more successful on this mission than anyone else I can name. He wrote many books, including:

Prometheus Rising
Cosmic Trigger
Quantum Psychology
Sex, Drugs and Magic
Reality is what you can get away with
Ishtar Rising
The New inquisition
Everything is Under Control

These books, like Wilson himself, are all beacons of light, humour and a wonderful rationality, both mystical and mischievous, magickal and scientific. I could and will recommend them to anyone who is interested in the future positive evolution of humanity, from the macrocosm of the species to the microcosm of the individual. He educated all of us that came in contact with his work, that, as he said himself,
“the universe contains a maybe.”

Wilson, I think I can say without doubt, was to me, one of the most influential and positive authors and thinkers, his ideas about what we as a species are capable of opened many doors that I would not otherwise have known existed, and put new light and a new way of perceiving on a few that I knew about already.

Wilsons last blog entry on January 6th of this year reflects his lifelong commitment to good humour and good sense, and is, a very great example to us all.

"Various medical authorities swarm in and out of here predicting I have between two days and two months to live. I think they are guessing. I remain cheerful and unimpressed. I look forward without dogmatic optimism but without dread. I love you all and I deeply implore you to keep the lasagna flying.

Please pardon my levity, I don't see how to take death seriously. It seems absurd."

Of all the eulogies that I have posted on this blog, none has moved me more, or left me with a greater or more profound feeling of emptiness than having to write Wilson's.

I can only hope that anyone who reads this post that has not come into contact with his writings searches out and reads his books.

They will not tell you what to think, they will allow you to think for yourself.


Take a trip to the Robert Anton Wilson homepage.

Finally, I would like to say, Goodbye Bob, and thanks for everything.

The most appropriate way to finish this post I think, is to leave you with two quotes that Bob himself attached to the end of every email, well those he was good enough to send to me anyway.

I think God is sending us a message: "If you can't take a joke,
go fuck yourselves."
--Woody Allen

Events which appear crude or offensive in the instant
may become, with a change of perspective, somewhere between
droll and riotously funny.
Hannibal Lecter, M.D
Peace and Hope


Thursday, January 11, 2007

Police State? What Police state?

Reassuring isn't it?

As it says above, the image is an official British Government poster outside a London tube station. George Orwell, eat your heart out. I even bet he would have appreciated the quasi-communist-fascist 20th century poster art.

Actually, this might be a good time for us all to try an experiment.

Consider the following quotes from the book "1984" and see if you think them applicable in any way to current day life in the U.S. and the U.K.

Are you feeling comfortable?

Well then, we shall begin.

1. "“The rocket bombs which fell daily on London were probably fired by the government of Oceania itself, 'just to keep the people frightened."

2. “The key-word here is blackwhite. Like so many Newspeak words, this word has two mutually contradictory meanings. Applied to an opponent, it means the habit of impudently claiming that black is white, in contradiction of the plain facts.”

3. "And if all others accepted the lie which the Party imposed—if all records told the same tale—then the lie passed into history and became truth. 'Who controls the past' ran the Party slogan, 'controls the future: who controls the present controls the past.'"

4. Referring to the Proles "Until the become conscious they will never rebel, and until after they they have rebelled they cannot become conscious."

5. "In Oceania at the present day, Science, in the old sense, has almost ceased to exist. In Newspeak there is no word for 'Science.' The empirical method of thought, on which all the scientific achievements of the past were founded, is opposed to the most fundamental principles of Ingsoc."

“Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two make four. If that is granted, all else follows”

Thats all for today, think about it tonight,

There will be a test.

Results may vary depending on the individual.

And Remember U.K. citizens, you are free. Free to do what they tell you.

Peace and Hope


Friday, January 05, 2007

Travel Writing: The Leprosery

Many years ago, when I was in College, I used to visit a friend who was studying down in Waterford town. The following is an account of a night I spent in the now demolished Waterford Infirmary (which in an earlier incarnation was a Leprosery, but mutated to a more mundane form of medical treatment when the number of Lepers in Ireland fell). The writing has been not been changed, leaving all the horrible boils and warts that were on it when pen first touched paper (as it was back in the day). The reason for this is so that the writing remains an accurate account of the way I thought all those years ago.


The Leprosery

He opened the door, I smiled, it took him a second to recognise my face, and then he smiled too. I went into the house, and he made me a cup of coffee which I drank to the sound to Tom Waits. Mates hanging out. It was the best damn thing that had happened to me in weeks.

That didn’t happen, the last time we had seen each other must have been a month ago, and then we parted on frosty terms after knawing at each others necks ‘till they were red and raw.

This was to have been the joyous reunion. I boarded the train to Waterford at three O’Clock on a Saturday afternoon. I click-clacked across a patchwork of badly sewn fields for two hours. The side to side shifting of the train seemed happy with the promise of a great weekend to come. The bottle of Coke I’d brought with me grew less and less until finally, when I arrived in Waterford train station it vanished into a cloud of cigarette smoke never to be seen again.

Waterford, the sun had his hat coat and boots on, and a smile on his face. The river pushed itself dutifully under the bridge and out to sea. I took the easy way, over the bridge, and into the arteries of the town. Parched with sunlight I stopped off to drain a pint of Guinness, all the while thinking of his face - happy – disappointed – angry? All the things that I might have felt. I left the pub and walked down by the Market, the Dublin accents were still there, something I could never figure out. The reds, whites greens and oranges went well with the weather, almost hand in hand. I rounded the corner of Mall lane as the big hand rounded the twelve and still could not catch up with the little hand at the six.

Mall lane was always a country to itself, even on rainy days the houses always managed to steal some light from the afternoon. The front door was flanked by two eyes that only held a passing resemblance to windows. I knocked twice, rang four times. I stared in through an eye, his room was cleared, grey and dusty. The bed was in the front room, on top of the tattered sofa, the one which always hurt my back, everything was covered in plastic sheets, that final kind of plastic – not like a rain coat, more like a shroud – I hadn’t known about it but I’d kind of expected it. What to do? What to do? Have a cigarette for one thing, then try and figure it all out. The nicotine cleared my head of the fog long enough for the facts to start filtering their way through. No more trains and busses until tomorrow, that’s for sure, the last train was the one I came in on, and all the busses drew into their shelters an hour and a half ago. So – I could hear metaphysical laughter by this point – so, so where am I going to stay? Choices, choices, choices.

Two hours later and more phone calls than an operator on speed could count in a day, I realised I had but one option.

That option was stooped and rotting on a hill about two miles away. It was a leper hospital, a sanatorium, a placer where people had lived and died, and now it was dying itself. It’s skin was peeling like a leper, it’s eyes were bloodshot, the place was in a cold fever. Every major organ had one by one kicked in and died. The plumbing had rusted, the water, blood in the metal veins, had been cut off, and what remained was dripping out like tears of sadness. The power had been cut off and the synapses, the sockets, were scattered and shattered over the sandpaper concrete floors. The cancer of fire had licked and blackened the walls on most of the five stories.

I’d been there twice before, the first time was an adventure, with him and a few others, the second was scary, I’d been on my own. This would be the third – the last time I visited the virus of vandals had scavenged and plundered what was left of it’s dignity. Now there was probably nothing left to burn or break or steal.

I had about fifteen minutes of daylight left, to complete a twenty minute journey. It was dark by the time I got there, dark as it gets.

The rain began to fall as I arrived, a red and raw metal fence kept the hospital in isolation, away from the rest of the town. I struggled and stumbled over the metal spikes, and through the pale, streetlight yellow grass. I drew nearer to the concrete, metal and plaster corpse. It wanted to rest in peace. I was an invader here, an interloper, I was not wanted and the hospital told me so through the well water in the pit of my stomach. I struggled through a bush and over a moss covered stone wall which glowed phosphorescent in the faint and distant electric streetlight. But even that couldn’t wash the blackness of off my back. I waked round the rear of the hulking giant and then into its bowels, via a gash I myself had given it six months before. I was lucky, the gash still hadn’t healed itself up.

As I entered my struggle echoed like thunder on a quiet night. There was no light inside, no light at all. I found myself deep in an artery clogged with lime scale. Hands outstretched before me, I pushed metal creaky wheeled stretchers ahead of me and crunched old glass syringes below my feet. Five minutes, five hours….I don’t know how long it took me in that darkness to find somewhere habitable. I made my way towards the offices which I knew were two floors above. All the while trying not to look in the chambers and cells that I passed at the disconnected electroshock machines and the cat scans that had spilled their wired intestines all over the cold floors.

Finally I made it. The vandals had not been in the offices since I was last here. Papers were scattered all over the stained and ripped carpets. Strip lights hung in the orange gloom by single tendons, I had to duck to avoid touching them. Broken furniture lay splintered throughout the three rooms. The doors still doggedly remained on but opening and shutting them was impossible. The windows had seen too much and burst themselves all over the floor. I was told their story as they passed beneath my feet. Somewhere metal clattered applause at me. The echo took seconds to die away, having first to find its way out of the labyrinthine building. Cupboard doors that had been amputated from their housing were stacked against the far wall.

The newly born cold of the night started to seep in under the doors and through the windows and the cracks in the walls. Fire, I had to build a fire, a small one that couldn’t be seen from the street. A light box, once used for viewing x-rays had been stamped into a billion fragments, I couldn’t tell them from the rest of the damp debris. Only the metal casing remained, whoever did this didn’t have the time or the inclination to dismantle it. This would do as a fire place. Three cupboard doors stacked against the wall – my foot fell again and again and again, no way I could see my foot hitting them, but I could hear their bones break. The wind gave a sigh in another room on another level somewhere in this vast five story building. Kindling, I need kindling, damn it!, it’s getting colder. Sound of paper scrunching, still can’t see much, soon after twenty to thirty paper balls in the light box casing, I feel at last as if I’m getting somewhere. Fuck it, why is everything so damn cold? I reach for another bit of paper and find instead a dry mop. Pulling desperately I lay the strands over and under the paper. I strike a match, light at last, but not much, a small flame cannot burn away this much inky blackness.

I put the flame to the paper, paper takes the flame, the room becomes more friendly to my presence. At last things are going well, I lie back and light a cigarette, inhaling deeply. Warmth and light – on my skin and face – even creeping up my back and into my bones. My smoking oh so suddenly turns to choking, razors cut into my throat. I turn on my stomach, those damn chipboard doors, smoke fills my lungs like kerosene, the whole room is now poisonous, the broken windows don’t make a difference. I panic, try to stamp it out. Cinders like fireworks fill the room and add to the smoke. I’ve got to get out of here, I lunge for the metal casing, and fling it out into the asylum corridors, it rolls and clatters away from me, leaving a runway of fire behind it.

I sit shaking in the corridor listening to all the scary night noises this place can throw at me. The room starts to clear of smoke, I wait, as the embers flicker and die leaving me again in darkness. Ten minutes, twenty, thirty, I re-enter the room, each footfall shatters the silence and the glass and plastic. I go to another room in the office complex and find three unbroken chairs, I pull them together and create a makeshift bed, using my bag as a pillow. I lie down and cannot sleep, trees dance on the wall, slowly coming out of oblivion travelling painfully across the width of my vision and dying, only to be reincarnated when another set of headlights tops the hill.

Metal hits metal somewhere in the darkness, it turns me into a rod of steel for fifteen minutes then when I finally begin to relax I hear the same noise again. I find myself holding a steel bar in defence, to stop whatever it is, whoever it is, from getting me. Please God, just let me sleep, just let me close my eyes and when I open them again let it be morning, the creaking bones and the dead feeling behind my eyes will be worth it just to see morning.


So I have a cigarette, I’ve got enough to last me, this packet and three more in my bag. After five cigarettes and the feeling that something died in my mouth, I finally get to the point where I can relax and lie back.

The hospital creaks and groans in remembrance of the sadness of the past, it remembers the people who died here and those who were born here, the children who cried here with the needles in their veins and the chemicals in their blood. Somewhere down in the basement plunged in darkness with its two foot walls, the old cook rattles his pots and pans and the chains that have kept his spirit in this deserted kitchen for one hundred years now. His rhythm lulls me into sleep.

Morning breaks like its just climbed out of a fridge, my bones ache, a layer of hospital smell covers my body. I walk, I walk, and creak and hobble down to the nicotine stained station café. I breathe a sigh of relief as I board the train and write this.

I’ve still got a chip of the Hospitals crumbling plaster on my shoulder.

Peace and Hope